Diamonds won’t hold back at camp

With less than one week to go, the Australian Diamonds are polishing their Gold Coast Commonwealth Games preparations on the Sunshine Coast.

The team spent one night in the Commonwealth Games Village, before travelling up to the Sunshine Coast for a final camp.

The change of location brings a laser-like focus to the Diamonds, who have been joined by training partners Kristiana Manu’a, Kate Moloney, Tegan Phillip and Gretel Tippett for the five-day camp.

Vice captain Gabi Simpson explained, “We checked into the village for one day, which was really exciting.

“That excitement overload is a little bit exhausting, so now we’ve come to the Sunshine Coast to regain ourselves and start connecting before we head into Commonwealth Games.”

With their opening game on Thursday 5 April against Northern Ireland, the vice captain said they were taking the time to focus within, before returning to the Gold Coast for the competition.

“We are all focusing on ourselves for this camp,” she said. “We are preparing ourselves to be sharp before our first game.”

The Diamonds won’t hold back this week, Simpson stating, “every time we hit the court, we hit it hard. We want to train like we want to play.”

The Diamonds play two practice matches, against the Queensland Firebirds and reigning Suncorp Super Netball premiers Sunshine Coast Lightning, and it’s all about refinement.

“It’s fine tuning at this stage,” said head coach Lisa Alexander.

“We have practiced what we need to do strategy wise for the last twelve months at least. We’ve changed a lot about how we play, we’ve even got different personnel, we’ve got two new players so to speak in Laura Geitz and Madi Robinson coming into our group.

“It’s about getting all of that down, the structures down and getting the teamwork right. It’s perfect to have practice matches,” Alexander said.

Australia opens its 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games campaign against Northern Ireland on Thursday 5 April before its remaining pool matches against Barbados (6 April), South Africa (8 April), Fiji (9 April) and Jamaica (11 April).